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Last updated on May 29th, 2023

Solar hot water system cost guide

As the world turns its attention to cleaner power, solar thermal systems are becoming an increasingly popular solution for homeowners. By drawing power from the sun, these systems transfer the heat straight into your hot water supply. The result is emission-free hot water for you to wash, do the dishes and clean your laundry. But how much does a solar hot water system cost?

As the world turns its attention to cleaner power, solar thermal systems are becoming an increasingly popular solution for homeowners. By drawing power from the sun, these systems transfer the heat straight into your hot water supply. The result is emission-free hot water for you to wash, do the dishes and clean your laundry. Not only are solar water heating systems beneficial to the environment, but they’re also a great way to save heating costs in the long term. But how much does a solar hot water system cost?

To help you budget, we’ve put together a practical guide to solar thermal system prices.

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ItemUnitCost - lowCost - highAverage cost
Solar thermal systemSystem and installation£3,000£6,000£4,500
Solar thermal kitSystem£2,000£3,000£2,500

Our costs are ballpark averages – get a local tradesperson to quote now

Solar hot water system cost

Solar thermal technology harnesses clean energy by converting the heat from the sun into hot water. This is ideal for homeowners and businesses alike who want to reduce their carbon emissions and cut down on the costs of fossil fuels.

There are two main types of solar thermal systems:

  • Active solar water heating systems, which have special devices to convert the sun’s energy into hot water, and
  • Passive solar water heating systems, which rely on the design of the building itself to absorb solar energy.

cost of a solar hot water systemIn this guide, we’re looking specifically at active solar thermal systems. The cost of a solar hot water system will ultimately depend on the type and quality of the solar panels, but you can expect a quote of between £3,000 – £6,000 for a typical 5m² thermal collector roof area and 250-litre cylinder. This includes the cost to install a solar hot water system as well as the materials required, including panels, pipes and a hot water tank.

This was part of the The Green Homes Grant that launched in September 2020 and ended in March 2021 (it was due to be March 2022 but this is no longer the case). Homeowners and landlords could apply for vouchers ranging between £5,000 – £10,000 in value for energy-saving renovations. Solar thermal panels were also included under the grant scheme.

Note: Most solar hot water systems are just designed to provide the hot water you use for bathing, showering and hot taps, not heating.

What is the cost of installing a solar hot water system myself?

It is possible, of course, to purchase a DIY installation kit. If you opt for this route, you can expect the solar domestic hot water system cost to be around £1,750. However, this doesn’t take into account the cost of scaffolding, which you will need if you have a two-storey home.

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FAQs

What is the average cost of a solar hot water system?

The average solar hot water heating system cost is £4,500. A professional will give you an accurate cost for installation.

How much does a gas boosted solar hot water system cost?

Solar hot water systems aren’t usually standalone systems. They usually have a gas backup system to ensure you always have access to hot water (normally a conventional boiler or immersion heater). Gas boosted models help homeowners get the best of both worlds: lower carbon emissions through a solar water heater and the on-demand performance of a gas water heater. The cost for installation and materials will usually come to around £4,500. However, this will depend on the complexity of the installation. If scaffolding is required, these costs will be included in the quote. If you can use your existing gas boiler, this will save you money.

How do you install a solar panel?

First and foremost, you will require between 2-5 m² of roof space to install solar panels. The most common installation method is to mount the panels directly to the rafters using specialist roof hooks, frames and clamps. Scaffolding is needed for properties of two storeys, which will increase the total cost.

Is my heating system compatible with a solar thermal system?

If you have a regular heating system that is gravity fed, you’ll need to get an extra heat pump or valve so that the system can function properly when the heating is running alongside it. It’s worth noting that solar thermal systems aren’t usually compatible with combi boilers as they receive water directly from the mains. If you gave a hot water storage cylinder, you’ll likely be okay.

Before proceeding, it’s worth checking with the manufacturer of your boiler to determine whether it will be compatible with a solar thermal system.

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Working with professional estimators, we collate cost estimates for the common home improvement and repair jobs in the UK.

All the costs are estimates only. For accurate costs for your particular requirements, you are encouraged to reach out to professional tradespeople to receive a quote for your job.

Our estimators are Chartered Members (MRICS) of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and Members of the Chartered Institute of Building (MCIOB). See full disclaimer.

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